Here’s the link.
Here’s an idea. If the FS has to analyze an alternative proposed by a litigo-collaborative group, wouldn’t it have been more cost effective to analyze it right away as part of the rest of the NEPA rather than draw this out.. how many years have these poor folks been planning? Which would be an argument for analyzing both a collaborative group’s alternative and the “likely litigator’s” alternative upfront. Then we’d just have to think up a “more intrusive” alternative, and call it good.
The process seems to be:
Government tries really hard to write a perfect document
Groups who want control find flaws
Sit down with DOJ and make a deal
Leaving out the FS (well they are talking to DOJ but..), the public, Congress and other elected officials other than the ones influencing DOJ (current administration) Wish the political science folks were still here on this blog to talk about the “separation of powers” but as I recall, when things get out of balance with courts and executive, it is time for Congress to step in.
And back to our collaboration topic, by the same logic as Macfarlane suggested, then developing a proposal with groups as part of a settlement would also “violate NEPA..” But could that be, since it’s apparently ordered by a court? The non-legal mind boggles.
U.S. Forest Service officials could add 80,000 acres of wilderness areas in the four Southern California national forests — which would prohibit road building, commercial development and mountain biking — and ban motorized vehicles from another 300,000 acres.
The proposal is part of a settlement between the Forest Service and seven environmental groups that sued in 2008 over the agency’s decision to allow road building and off-highway vehicles in remote roadless areas.
The San Bernardino, Cleveland, Angeles and Los Padres national forests, which total 3.5 million acres, would be affected. Those forests, all near urban areas, are among the most popular in the country for recreation, drawing more than seven million visitors a year.
The proposal is outlined in a draft of the Forest Service’s management plan. An environmental analysis of the plan is open to public comment through May 16. The Forest Service will hold a public meeting on the topic March 28 at the San Bernardino National Forest headquarters.
Three alternatives are proposed:
Alternative 1 would make no changes.
Alternative 2, preferred by the Forest Service, would establish backcountry areas where no motorized vehicles would be allowed. The zoning would allow bicycling and makes an exception for road construction for tasks such as forest fuels management. It would not remove vehicle access where it is already allowed, however. The largest portion — 300,000 acres — would be in the Los Padres National Forest, headquartered near Santa Barbara.
Alternative 3, the most restrictive, recommends additional wilderness, a designation ultimately made by Congress. This would ban off-road vehicles, mountain bikes and construction of new roads and prohibit installation of cellphone towers, radio repeaters and microwave reflectors. This is the proposal favored by environmentalists.
Hmm. I guess it you have no timber, grazing, or oil and gas, you have to go after mountain bikes, fuel treatments and cellphone towers. Maybe we can see the ultimate endgame for some, as proposed for Southern California.